Keratinocyte growth factor/fibroblast growth factor-7 (KGF/FGF-7) is an established paracrine mediator of hormone-regulated epithelial growth and differentiation. In all organs studied, KGF is uniquely expressed in cells of mesenchymal origin. To determine whether KGF and its receptor, keratinocyte growth factor receptor (KGFR) or fibroblast growth factor receptor-2IIIb, were expressed in the porcine uterus as a potential paracrine system mediating progesterone action, we cloned KGF and KGFR partial cDNAs from the porcine endometrium. KGF and KGFR expression was detected in endometrium by Northern blot hybridization. Interestingly, in situ hybridization results demonstrated that KGF was expressed by endometrial epithelia and was particularly abundant between Days 12 and 15 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy. KGF secretion into the lumen of the porcine uterus was also detected on Day 12 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy. KGFR was expressed in both endometrial epithelia and conceptus trophectoderm. These novel findings suggest that KGF may act on the uterine endometrial epithelium in an autocrine manner and on the conceptus trophectoderm in a paracrine manner in the pig, which is the only species possessing a true epitheliochorial type of placentation.
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